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tv   Early Today  NBC  April 18, 2013 4:00am-4:30am PDT

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minutes earlier. we're fold the firefighters arrived, the fire was burning and they realized the fire was getting out of control. the fire chief gave the orders to pull out of the there. and that's when the explosion happened. we have an eyewitness account from a young man at the scene. let's listen to him. >> the school's gone. the apartments are gone. i'm sitting in my truck. boom, a big explosion. just glass went everywhere. and as soon as that -- i just ran. >> reporter: countless homes are currently flattened in the north part of town. the high school caught fire. a nursing home was damaged. an apartment house was also crushed by the concussion which, by the way, was felt more than 70 miles away from this epicenter near west, texas. richard. >> todd hadlock there. charles, what is key in the coming hours?
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>> reporter: well, they're going to continue to search in the coming hours. they're going to bring in cadaver dogs and sniff for explosive. they're treating this as a crime scene for now. they want to rule out any possibility this is a crime before they believe investigating for what they believe it to be an industrial accident. >> charles working all night covering that story outside of waco, texas. federal agents arrested a mississippi man overnight suspected of sending letters contaminated with poison to president obama and senator roger wicker. this move cummings just days after the letters were intercepted in mail sorting facilities for the white house, capitol hill. nbc's tracie potts has the details. >> reporter: richard what led them to mississippi, was the setting on not just two, but three letters wents too a mississippi judge, signing those
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letters to become a silent partner i am kevin curtis and i approve this message. that suspect called kevin curtis has been arrested in his home in tupelo, mississippi. the authorities were led there as a result of the investigation. three letters positive for the potentially dangerous and deadly substance ricin. wicker, president obama and the judge's all postmarked april 8th from memphis, according to authorities. what they don't know is why he did. there's little information, little evidence on what his motive could have been, what we do know, it's had a huge impact here on capitol hill. other offices including senator richard shelby checked after reports of suspicious packages. both here on capitol hill and back in local districts. nothing else found. but there's a heightened concern here after boston and what happened there on monday. plus, a courthouse evacuation after a bomb threat there yesterday, not connected to this, according to authorities
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at least as far as they know right now. but mail headed to capitol hill, well, that's on hold this week. richard. >> tracie potts with the very latest on that developing story. thank you. also developing this morning, after a roller coaster day of reports on the investigation into the boston bombings, it appears authorities have pictures of their suspect now. the front page of this morning's "boston globe" proflames "authorities have image of bombing suspect." we also know the identity the third victim killed in the blast, 23-year-old lingzi lu. 29-year-old krystle campbell and richard martin were killed. >> reporter: good morning, richard. let's talk about the investigation first. the authorities have been vesting photographs, images from anybody in the public. it appears that is now paying off, perhaps the most successful
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images coming from a security camera at lord & taylor across the street from the finish line. but those images show what appears to be somebody taking duffel bags and placing them at the spot where the bomb exploded. so there's a major focus of attention on those pictures trying to analyze them to see if they can then lead to who may indeed be a suspect. meantime, as you mentioned the president will be making a visit here to boston for an interfaith memorial service. the president will be joined here by so many bostonians. of course, one of the concerns, security has, because it's another large gathering if somebody would have tried to do something. they've told folks if they're gathering, they may not bring bags, backpacks. they should come with a few things, maybe a phone in their hand, but not much more. that's 11:00 eastern time here. as for those who are wounded, there are 63 people in six area
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hospitals who were wounded in the explosion. at least 14 bombing victims remain in critical condition, including three children. there are continued attempts to make sure that psychologically those who were right there, in the blast zone, can handle what they're dealing with on the back end. i spoke to one young man here at tuft's who is saying he's going to move forward but it's go to come a slow process. his father says he's going to be right by his side. back to you, richard. >> thank you, terry. terry sanders live in boston. we'll have a report later on those photographs that terry sanders was mentioned. straight ahead, more news. the senate has dealt a major blow to the president's effort to expand gun control through background checks. but an emotional barack obama vows to fight on. plus new details on the west, texas, explosion and the latest on that just ahead.
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it was billed as a possible turning point in the fight for
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gun control reform but now hopes are fading that anything will get done after a bill to expand background checks on firearm sales failed in the senate. nbc's kelly o'donnell reports for us in washington. >> reporter: the president gave the rose garden microphone over to a newtown dad. mark barton. >> we'll return home now, disappointed but not defeated. >> reporter: the president clearly angry. >> the gun lobby and its allied willfully lied about the bill. >> reporter: lashed out at congress. >> this was a pretty shameful day for washington. but this effort is not over. i want to make it clear to the american people. we can still bring about meaningful changes that reduce gun violence so long as the people don't give up. >> reporter: from the steps of air force one last week to the u.s. capitol newtown families who know the pain of gun violence had been unwilling to give up. >> our hearts are broken.
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our spirit is not. >> reporter: gabby giffords who personally lobbied senators called the failure to pass expanded background checks unthinkable, but being heard or consoled was not enough for patricia, tucson shooting survivor who shouted at senators -- shame on you. >> shame on you! >> there will be order in the senate. >> reporter: some newtown families had held more private meetings, no media coverage. republican senator mark kirk's staff took these pictures. the latest nbc/maris poll shows nine out of ten surveyed want tighter restrictions on gun sales. four republicans voted yes to extend background checks to commercial sales at gun shows and internet. >> expanded background checks would not have prevented newtown. >> reporter: conservative opposition was strong. >> this is the first step of erosion of our rights under the second amendment. >> we're trying to take to it
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the violent criminal than the innocent law biding second amendment citizen. >> reporter: usually a vice president arrives to preside over a winning vote, but biden was here to witness its defeat. >> the amendment is not agreed to. >> reporter: four democrats with high gun ownership also voted no. >> that's nbc's kelly o'donnell reporting. there's a new twist in the case of two assassinated public officials in texas. police say the wife of a former justice of the peace has confessed to involvement in three koffman county shooting deaths. mark hasse and district attorney mike mcclellan and his wife last month. according to an affidavit she said her husband pulled the trigger. the two men who have been killed prosecuted him last year for theft. he was convicted and fired from his job and sentenced to probation. he has not been charged. in business, today's weekly
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jobless claims could determine whether they slap back against the losses. the one-time darling apple shedding near 6%, briefly breaking $400 a share for the first time in more than two years. that came on the heels of reports of dwindling demand for the ipad mini. and google reports earnings topd and what could be a first for that company. it's trying to bargain opening a pair of $1,500 google glasses from selling or loaning them out. the company's terms of service specifically states, quote, you may resell, loan, transfer or give your device to any other person. google reserves the right to deactivate the device. end quote. investigators in the boston marathon bombings have been pulling together an astounding amount of forensic evidence. and now have images of a potential bombing suspect, next.
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now to the continuing investigation into who is behind the deadly bombings at the boston marathon. the headline on the front page of this morning's "boston globe" reporting "authorities now have an image of suspect."
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joining us now to discuss these latest is quint van sant. they're reporting an individual 6 feet tall wearing a baseball cap, what do you make of this image and these details. >> the pictures that may be linked to that, what the authorities believe is that they've identified this one person at least, perhaps two, but one wearing this white baseball cap who shortly before the bomb went off, about an hour and a half before the bomb went off, was seen wearing a backpack. and then he's seen right at the at the time of the explosion, without that backpack. there are also allegedly other photographs that suggest he may have set that backpack down, in the vicinity if not the exact spot where at least one of the explosions went off. so that -- obviously, makes them a person of interest in this
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case. >> at this early stage, they have moved so quickly. you and i spoke yesterday. they're going to crunch through a lot of data, a lot of video. how are they able to identify a suspect so quickly either from the cell phone video or from that department store video? >> well, one of the things they have to do is find the location where those explosions took place. obviously, they can do that on film. then they have to back up from that and see if there's any indication whatsoever that a device, a backpack, something had been laid down, when they see that, they keep backing up until they find the source of that. so, really, they're going over about an hour and a half of film during that critical period of time. they know when the blast went off. now, they have to find out who set that package down that caused it. >> again, and that picture of an individual, about 6 feet tall, wearing a white or off-white baseball cap, cliff van zant getting down to the detail.
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just ahead, the explosion that rocked a 70-mile area. and how today's weather could have a continuing impact on today's rescue and recovery there happening in the town of west, texas.
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leading the news this morning in both the "new york times" and "the washington post," huge blast at texas fertilizer plant injures over 100. and anywhere from 5 to 15 deaths, according to local
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authorities. swaths of buildings sending toxic fumes into the air. of course that is the breaking story this morning. bill karins, the issue of whether, you've been watching and the town in this explosion? >> yeah, we can't get really aerials of the town yet because the weather's so bad. let me show you a view of the town using google maps here. it's a small texas town. this is the fertilizer plant over here. again, a tiny little place. now just nearby the fertilizer plant is actually the middle school here. there's the fertilizer plant. that's where the initial fire was and the explosion. this to the bottom down here is the middle school. and one area that we know firefighters were trying to evacuate as the fire was burning and the explosion was his thursdaying home which was not far away from that blast either. and a lot of these houses on the northern side of town are the ones that experienced the most damage or don't exist anymore. wind gusts, cold front just went through, 30 miles per hour. a lot of the fires are out, thankfully. now the rain's going over the town. it's not helping.
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first responders were waiting to get into these homes. they needed daylight. there's no power in town. just not doing up the fact that a chance of tornados during the day and major flooding outside of chicago. >> so, richard, you know, a lot of recovery and look at the images of the town as the weather improves. now to sports and a moving tribute in boston. the bruins took on buffalo in the first sporting event to be held in boston since the boston marathon bombing. before the game, the capacity crowd joined together. ♪ oh say does that star bangled banner yet wave ♪ >> a touching tribute there last
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night. i'm richard lui. this is "early today." just your first stop of the day today on your nbc station.
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recapping this morning's top story a massive and deadly explosion at a texas fertilizer plant. one official describing the damage as similar to iraq and the oklahoma city bombings. it's still developing but here's what we know right now. police saying between 5 and 15 people killed and at least 160 injuries. the explosions happened last night in the city of west, there in texas, about 20 miles north of waco. and 66 years ago to the day, this all too eerie.
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yesterday's "the new york times" front page in 1947 detailed another texas blast. this one in texas city, killing hundreds and injures thousands of others. an arrest has been made in the murder of a texas district attorney, kim lee williams the wife of a former texas justice of the peace has confessed that she and her husband were involved in the shooting death of koffman county assistant prosecutor and district attorney mark mcclellan and his wife. mrs. williams said her husband shot the two officials who prosecuted him for theft. a suspect is under arrest today in mississippi accused of sending poison letters. federal agents arrested paul kevin curtis for allegedly sending letters contaminated with ricin to president obama and senator roger wick of mississippi. before the letters reached senate offices or white house they were found in mail facilities. the investigation of the boston marathon bombings is focusing on the search for a suspect seen in a department store surveillance video. the man with the backpack was seen at the site of the explosions on monday which killed three people and injured 170.
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investigators say the suspect was seen dropping off a bag near the finish line but don't know yet his identity. time now for a look ahead. president obama and the first lady will be in boston today. they will participate in an interfaith service at the cathedral of the holy cross dedicated to those who were killed or wounded in the boston marathon bombings. a hearing today on capitol hill on homeland security. dhs secretary janet napolitano is scheduled to testify before a house hearing on the department's 2014 budget. and today is national high five day. the holiday highlighted in this youtube video raises thousands of dollars for cancer research. this year, the group is dedicating their efforts to the victims of the boston marathon bombing. here's a look at what's coming up on the "today" show. breaking news, the latest on an explosion at a fertilizer plant in texas. fbi agents are pursuing what he call a strong lead this morning in the investigation of the deadly boston marathon bombings. now, keep it on this channel for continuing local news, weather, sports and moring.
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i'm richard lui, thanks for watching "early today," just your first stop of the day on your nbc station. have a good one.
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. . . there was a major, major explosion, the windows came in on me, the roof, the ceiling. >> the school is gone, the apartments are gone. it is horrible. a desperate search for survivors in west texas. a small town leveled.
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hundreds of people are injured, as many as 15 are dead. dozens of homes and buildings completely wiped out. this morning, the search is on for people still missing, including officers and firefighters. it is 4:30. good morning. i'm laura garcia cannon. i'm jon kelley. we are getting an idea of how large this explosion was. people more than 70 miles away from the town of west texas felt this blast. it was so large the usgs says it registered the same as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake. a lot of people using the words extreme devastation has been rough. >> the blast leveled homes for blocks. they are still looking for survivoring. firefighters fighting are missing as well as police officers working the scene. others are going from business to business and house to house looking for any is yosurvivors.
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"today in the bay's" david scott is in west texas with the latest. cell phone videos submitted to kxas shows the fireball, the blast ripping through the west fertilizer plant in west texas. >> it was on fire prior to the explosion. it was fully engulfed when i arrived. >> firefighters were on the scene as well as ems when the explosion occurred. >> i have no idea how many ems may be hurt z a blast so strong, many thought it was an earthquake. >> massive, just like iraq, just like the murray building in oklahoma city, same kind of explosion. you can imagine what kind of damage we are looking at there. >> it rattled everything in the house. it took my breath away. >> 75 buildings including homes, a middle school and nursing home damaged or destroyed. >> there are homes leveled. there are businesses leveled. there is massive


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